Global Glance: Officials offer change to health care bill; US construction spending at nearly 11-year high

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

White House officials offer change to health care bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House officials made a new offer to conservative House Republicans late Monday on the GOP’s failed health care bill, hoping to resuscitate a measure that crashed spectacularly less than two weeks ago. Vice President Mike Pence and two top White House officials made the offer in a closed-door meeting with members of the House Freedom Caucus, according to a participant. Opposition from the hard-line group, which has around three dozen conservative Republicans, contributed to circumstances that forced House Speaker Paul Ryan to withdraw the bill from a March 24 vote that would have produced a certain defeat. Read more

US construction spending rose to nearly 11-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. developers ramped up construction spending in February to the largest amount in nearly 11 years, led by more building of homes, highways and schools. Construction spending rose 0.8 percent in February to the highest level since April 2006, after two months of declines, the Commerce Department said. Builders are rapidly putting up more homes in response to strong demand that has pushed up prices for existing homes. Yet it hasn’t yet been enough to relieve a shortage of homes for sale. The accelerated building could boost the economy this year. Read more

Trump-Xi meeting watched for clues on future relationship

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping probably won’t give President Donald Trump a round of golf during their first face-to-face meeting this week, but he may find it worthwhile to ensure his American counterpart does not feel like he’s leaving empty-handed. Some view the informal venue of the summit Thursday and Friday – Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida – as a sign that neither side anticipates important outcomes. Trump, however tweeted last week that he expects “a very difficult” meeting, and on Friday said: “We’re going to get down to some very serious business,” referencing what he believes is China’s negative impact on the U.S. economy, especially manufacturing jobs. Read more

Tumbling car sales drag down US auto market in March

DETROIT (AP) — Passenger car sales plummeted again in March, dragging U.S. auto sales to their third straight monthly decline, a strong indication that years of sales growth have come to an end. Sales for the month fell 1.6 percent to just over 1.55 million vehicles, surprising analysts who expected a small increase. For now, anyway, the auto industry isn’t worried. It’s making solid money selling reams of SUVs and trucks to consumers who are loading up on expensive features. But some analysts see large inventories of cars as a looming problem. Car sales were down almost 11 percent, while truck and SUV sales rose 5.2 percent, according to Autodata Corp. Read more

Border wall contractors brace for hostile site

SAN DIEGO (AP) — One potential bidder on President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico wanted to know if authorities would rush to help if workers came under “hostile attack.” Another asked if employees can carry firearms in states with strict gun control laws and if the government would indemnify them for using deadly force. With bids due Tuesday on the first design contracts, interested companies are preparing for the worst if they get the potentially lucrative job. A U.S. official with knowledge of the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details haven’t been made public said four to 10 bidders are expected to be chosen to build prototypes. Read more

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